Well, I said I’d be back if there was news to share, so here I am! I decided to try returning from my social media break after a few months, so we’ll see how things go. And since a little bit of Toy Story related news did occur while I was away, I figured I’d better get caught up!
The biggest news is that the “What is Love?” episode of Forky Asks A Question was nominated for Outstanding Short Form Animated Program at the 2020 Emmys! The announcement was made back on July 28, and the awards will air on September 20. This is a big honor for the series, and I’m excited to see Pixar recognized by the Emmys for the first time – with something Toy Story, no less! Of course I’ll be watching and cheering them on.
It’s kinda of funny, though, that the “What is Love?” episode is the one that got nominated – since it wasn’t quite what I was expecting when it first debuted, and my friends and I were a bit disappointed when it was so different than what we’d hoped for. Nevertheless, it was a creative story, with a legendary cast, and I would have been super happy to see ANY of the Forky episodes get a chance at an Emmy. It’s especially touching for this one to be singled out, too, since Carl Reiner – the voice of Carl Reineroceros – passed away on June 29 at age 98.
Following the nomination, several interviews with Forky Asks A Question director Bob Peterson have popped up online. Interviews are always my favorite thing to find, especially when the interviewers ask leading questions. In one of these articles, shared by Deadline, Peterson talked about the process of creating the episodes for each of the individual side characters – such as letting Rex explore the meaning of time, since he’d be interested in that ancient aspect of his dinosaur identity – and how the “Love” episode came about using the classic comedians:
“I thought it would be fun to craft something a bit soap opera-like for those four, and then I concentrated on their strengths. Carl is hilarious, but also has this super-likability, and he’s very grandfatherly. So, his role felt like that. Betty is so fiery that I wanted her to be the scorned lover. Carol, I tried to work in her Tarzan yell and just her amazing craft of comedy, and then Mel is so smart that I tried to give him just that Mel Brooks quality of super-smart and super-funny.”
These older and wiser characters (and voice actors) would have “seen and done it all,” he explained, which would give them the insight to talk about love. I really respect how carefully all these scenarios were thought out, and understand more now the motivation behind the choices. There was a lot of attention paid to being true to the characters, which is great. Peterson also touched upon the short-form genre in general, and I thoroughly agree with the positives he mentions:
“The things that affected me [growing up] were the Bugs Bunny shorts and the things that those short forms really hit home, and I think it allows you to just be a little more succinct and a little bit different with the humor, because you’re not really reaching the depths of pathos that we do in the film. So, you can keep it a little more lighthearted and silly as you go.”
I recently rewatched the entire Forky series, and the episodes do have that same lighthearted charm as the Toy Story Toons, where the toys are just kinda hanging out and being their silly selves with no major crisis to attend to. We spend so much time in the movies emotionally invested in the story, worrying about these characters we care about, and most likely end up in tears by the end. It’s refreshing and oh-so-welcome to just be able to have fun with them! And there’s a lot of potential within that series for so much more fun, if it continues, which I hope it will!
Speaking of continuing… another recent interview shared by Indiewire teased the series’ possible future:
“It’s kind of in my court whether to go on with it. At the moment I’m so busy with the next streaming project demo that I haven’t really written any scripts or pondered, but it’s still a possibility.”
Peterson stated as well that his next project (which is as of yet unannounced and therefore can’t be discussed) “is one close to his heart and will bring a lot of joy to fans.” What does that mean? “Bringing joy to fans” implies that it’s going to feature existing, popular characters. Is it more Toy Story? Or, is it something related to Dug from Up, who he voiced, or another one of the classic franchises he worked on? He also voices Roz, but a Monsters Inc. series, Monsters at Work, is already known to be in production for Disney+. I don’t want to instantly assume Toy Story, even though that would be my biggest hope, since there are many possible directions this could go. It’s wonderful to know that there is additional unknown Disney+ content being worked on at Pixar, though!
Yet one more interview, from the website Gold Derby, asked Peterson about whether there were more Forky episodes in the works. (It’s actually a very good video interview as a whole – I couldn’t imbed it here, but I definitely recommend watching it.) Here’s what he had to say about Forky’s future:
“I don’t know. I’m off on another project at the moment, and I’m pondering that, what that would look like. For the moment, no; but you never know. I enjoyed working on them, and my crew did, so I could see it happening eventually. But I ‘m getting through what I’m on now, which will take a little while. And then I, and Disney+, and Pixar, will call it whether we’re going to go for a few more. I hope so.”
When told that fans want more Forky, Peterson responded with, “they’ll storm my house with pitch-sporks,” demanding it. Okay, I’m in, who’s with me?
Seriously though, these mysterious little nuggets of “maybe?” are what keep you going as a fan, and leave you wishing for more. Please, please, pretty please, bring us more Forky – or even something entirely new that’s Toy Story – with Jessie and Buzz included this time! Or both Forky AND something new. Why not both?
Lastly, Forky himself has said that he’d be more than willing to jump into the role again, if given the chance. Tony Hale talked about these hopes for revisiting his character in a recent interview with Yahoo, when he was asked if he’d be up for a Toy Story 5:
“Here’s the deal. If Pixar ever calls anybody, you always just say yes. Those decisions are for other people to make, but I’m always more than willing, just to be around that environment again, because it was so inspiring. I’d love it.”
Hale was asked, too, what he would like to explore more of with Forky, if given the opportunity:
“I love the contrast of everybody kind of getting it, about the world, and then Forky’s just like, ‘I dunno.’ He’s just always very naive. So any time there can be that contrast.”
And if he thought we’d be seeing more episodes of Forky Asks A Question:
“It’s kind of the thing that, if they ever want to do it again, I’d just jump at the chance. Cause there’s a lot of questions. I just love that it goes from a question like, ‘What is a friend?’ to like, ‘What is Cheese?’ And I just love always that span of random questions.”
Hale joked that he would like Forky to ask, “Why do people talk so loudly on their cell phones?” or, “Why do people eat with their mouths open?” But the interviewer did ask him a second time if there have been any conversations about another Toy Story film:
“There might have been. Those aren’t conversations that I join in on. I think that if there have been, those are the Pixar bigwigs that probably discuss that stuff.”
Honestly, I could be happy with carefree shorts for quite some time, and not even worry about another gut-wrenchingly emotional movie. Our toys have been through so much already! But at the same time, I’m always excited to get to spend time with those characters again, in any way. The Toons and television specials were a happy interlude between Toy Story 3 and Toy Story 4, so I would be thrilled to revisit some of that (thanks to Disney+) over the next several years – so long as we get to hang out at Bonnie’s house, with the gang that didn’t get as much screentime in the recent past. Guess we’ll see if Pixar has anything up their sleeve!
Image © Disney/Pixar.